CivicSpark Alumni – Informational Interviews

Alex Economou

2015-16 Central Coast Fellow; San Luis Obispo Climate Action Support

Originally from Illinois, Alex Economou attended the University of Oregon where he received bachelor degrees in Environmental Studies and Business Administration. While at Oregon, Alex got his first taste of local government working as a financial controller for the student government. After graduation, Alex moved to San Luis Obispo where he served as a CivicSpark Fellow supporting Climate Action Plan implementation for the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (SLOAPCD) and the SLO County Energy Watch partnership. Following CivicSpark, Alex moved to Santa Barbara where he is currently working as an Air Quality Specialist for the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District.

Interests: My personal interests include running, hiking, camping and traveling. I also enjoy playing basketball, soccer and beach volleyball. Professionally, I am interested in working within the regulatory framework of local government to find innovative, market-based solutions to the climate, energy and sustainability challenges facing the world today.

Current Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Mike Kloha

2015-16 Southern California Fellow; Sustainability Indicators (Southern California Association of Governments)

Michael Kloha is currently working as a LEED Project Manager for a consulting firm called Energy Inspectors in San Diego, CA. His educational background includes graduating from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy and a minor in Urban Studies & Planning. Over the years he has become familiar with environmental issues in the Southern California region, and continues to work in the field of urban sustainability. At Energy Inspectors, he manages LEED for Homes projects for developers seeking to build environmentally-friendly residential developments. In the future he hopes to play a large role in transforming current urban areas into thriving sustainable communities.

Interests: Career interests include urban sustainability and climate action planning; eventually want to be a top sustainability executive for a company/nonprofit, as well as playing a major role in crafting/executing a climate action plan (regardless of whether its for a city, state, or country). Interested in talking with Southern California candidates as that is where my experience lies.

Current Location: San Diego, CA

Daniel Maloney

2015-16 Los Angeles Fellow; LA County Sustainability Framework

My name is Daniel Maloney and I currently work on policy and analysis for the State Senator, Henry Stern, who was a protégé for Senator Fran Pavley. Prior, I have worked in the local setting for Oakland Unified School District in reducing energy by 10% to save the district $1 million per year. I also worked for San Francisco Unified School District in assisting special needs children and worked on IEP reports with parents. I’ve worked in the municipal level for San Francisco Department of the Environment working on ordinances, pesticide reduction on golf courses, and creating a web site using coding. I’ve worked in the County level for L.A. County that provided services to over 10 million people and I’ve worked for non-profits, for example the Santa Cruz Aids Project in advocating for HIV/AIDS awareness. I am currently training for a triathlon next month in July, and for a marathon in August.

Interests: My interest is to travel and to keep exploring the unknown. Last year I traveled for two months with various Buddhist monks throughout Thailand and Laos, while sleeping on mats in Wats (temples). I’m big into backpacking and have hiked Lost Coast Trail, Half Dome, up Yosemite Falls, and numerous trails in the surrounding Marin headlands. I’m interested in candidates that have a story to tell in what makes them who they are today, and what obstacles or challenges they might of had to overcome to get to where they are now? What are your passions? Why do you want to continue advocating for the environment when it seems like the whole world isn’t paying attention?

Current Location: Sacramento, CA

Hoi-Fei Mok

2015-16 Bay Area Fellow; City of Emeryville Climate Action Plan 2.0

Hoi-Fei Mok is an environmentalist, artist, and activist from the Bay Area working at the intersection of environment, community, and art. They graduated from Wellesley College, MA with top honors and have worked extensively as a researcher on climate change and ecological modeling in Costa Rica, Tibet, and Australia. Their PhD research at The University of Melbourne focused on wastewater reuse for agricultural irrigation in Shepparton, Australia and included public health risk modeling, agricultural fieldwork, and economic feasibility analysis. Currently, Fei works as a program officer with ICLEI supporting local governments in climate change and sustainability. Outside of work, Fei is an equity fellow with the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts in San Francisco, managing editor for Wellesley Underground, and is active with several queer people of color networks.

Interests: Climate and environmental justice, art activism, reading all the things, geeking out over Star Wars and other sci fi/fantasy series. Greatly interested in chatting with other people of color looking to work in the environmental field.

Current Location: Bay Area, CA

Laura Moser

2014-15 Sacramento Fellow; Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Sacramento Area Regional Transportation

Laura Moser is currently working as an engineer in water resources at East Bay Municipal Utility District. She graduated in 2014 with a degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from University of Washington, where she had the opportunity to study abroad in Jordan and witness the importance and complexity of water issues in the Middle East. Since graduating, Laura’s work includes environmental inspection on large construction sites in Seattle, consulting for rural water and wastewater projects in in Colorado, and of course climate policy work with CivicSpark in Sacramento. She enjoyed taking the year after CivicSpark to travel in Chile and Argentina, care for family on the East Coast, and work in the coffee shop scene in Sacramento.

Interests: Laura spends much of her free time on two wheels: mountain biking local trails, cycling through remote roads, or finding new routes for commuting. Professionally, she is interested in working at the intersection of physical infrastructure, social issues, and climate change. She’s excited to hear from CivicSpark candidates about what motivates them and what they hope to achieve through the program. 

Current Location: Bay Area, CA

Jessie Rudd

2014-15 San Joaquin Valley Fellow; Urban Forestry in Disadvantaged Communities

Jessie Rudd graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2012 with degrees in Environmental Studies and Anthropology before traveling and working abroad across Southeast Asia and Central America. She has worked in sustainability in the non – profit sector in Thailand, Guatemala, California and Australia. Her current role at SurfAid, a humanitarian aid and development organization whose programs support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is broad and includes developing campaigns, organizing events, managing the communication strategy, and grant / proposal writing.

Interests: Jessie can be found packing her bags for her next adventure, reading The Atlantic or The Economist, or cooking her life away. Professionally, she is interested in environmental justice, and how a changing climate will disproportionately burden low income communities and countries. 

Current Location: Sydney, Australia

Benjamin Silverman

2015-16 Bay Area Fellow; GHG Inventory, Energy Policy, and Waste Emissions Strategic Support in Oakland

Ben Silverman is the Climate and Buildings Program Manager with the City of Boston’s Environment Department where he manages the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance. He was part of the 2015-2016 CivicSpark year where he was partnered with the City of Oakland working on zero-net energy retrofits, benchmarking, electric vehicle charging stations, and other projects. He previously interned with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. Ben Silverman received his Masters in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School in New York City in 2014, and his BA in Economics from the University of Vermont in 2010. He is a LEED Green Associate.

Current Location: Boston, MA

Rebecca True

2015-16 San Joaquin Valley Fellow; Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Community Strategy for Merced County

A Sacramento native, Rebecca True graduated from University of Colorado, Boulder in 2015 with studies in the environment, public health, and sustainable development. The classes she took during her study abroad experience in Sweden cemented her desire to pursue design problems in the built environment through strategic growth, local energy production, and resiliency planning. As a CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow (’15-’16) based in Merced County, Rebecca promoted alternative transportation and assisted with various planning and sustainability projects for local jurisdictions in support of the region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy. Rebecca now works at the Local Government Commission on the Energize Fresno project and she expects to enroll in an urban planning graduate program within the next few years to expand her technical skills and policy knowledge base.

Interests: In addition to planning, Rebecca geeks out over biomimicry and cradle-to-cradle design, and is interested in getting more involved in conversations around climate equity in California.

Current Location: Sacramento, CA

Jamie Zouras

2015-16 North Coast Fellow; RCEA: Energy Assurance Planning / Proposition 39 / Regional Climate Mitigation Planning

Jamie Zouras is an Illinois native who studied Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and Urban Planning in undergrad at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Although she had never been to California before, she packed her bags after graduating to become a CivicSpark Fellow. Now, Jamie works at the Natural Resource Defense Council in Chicago as a Program Assistant, supporting the Energy & Transportation team, Land & Wildlife team, and the Center for Policy Advocacy team. Preventing and correcting environmental and social justice issues is more than just a career endeavor for Jamie–she tries to minimize her carbon footprint and leverage resources everyday to leave a positive impact on Earth through political action, mindful living, and a vegan diet. Despite living in one of the flattest states, Jamie hikes whenever she has free time and enjoys other activities like biking along Lake Michigan, gardening in her backyard, and playing with her foster bunnies at home!

Interests: Jamie is interested in helping make neighborhoods healthier, safer, and more equitable through policy change, community engagement, and sustainable design. Eventually, she plans to attend graduate school abroad. 

Current Location: Chicago, IL